Bacterial Blood Poisoning in Hamsters

Tularemia in Hamsters

 

Tularemia is a rare infection in hamsters caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. This disease spreads quickly and can lead to severe complications such as blood poisoning. In fact, once a hamster contracts the bacteria from an infected tick or mite, it often dies within 48 hours.

 

Tularemia is also contagious to humans. Therefore, your veterinarian may recommend that infected hamsters or those exposed to infected hamsters be euthanized.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Dull appearance or depression
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Rough hair coat

 

Causes

 

Though rare in hamsters, tularemia is contracted from ticks or mites infected with the bacteria Francisella tularensis.

 

Diagnosis

 

Diagnosis is usually made during a postmortem examination. Blood will be discovered in the liver and the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes will be enlarged. If X-rays of the hamster are taken before the infection becomes fatal, your veterinarian may also notice an enlarged liver and spleen.